Wood Lane is a 81 hectare site, which combines North Shropshire’s largest quarry with active nature conservation.
The deposits of sand, gravel and clay (including dark greywacke, red speckled granite and light grey carboniferous limestone) have been transported to Wood Lane by glaciers from as far afield as Ireland, Cumbria and North Wales. The clay can be easily ‘puddled’ and has been used to reline parts of the local canal system. The sands and gravels have been used since the 1930s to construct airfields, factories, houses, schools and hospitals for the people of North Shropshire and beyond.
Wood Lane is geographically well placed at the hub of four meres: Blakemere, Newton Mere, Colemere and White Mere. Opportunities for colonization by local species will enhance the biodiversity of Wood Lane. As part of the ongoing restoration programme, 6 hectares are now specifically managed to provide a range of wetland habitats.
Wood Lane is near to designated sites of special scientific interest and proposed RAMSAR sites. The Ellesmere area has many expanses of water in the locality but is not generally suitable for wading birds. Worked out parts of the quarry site give the ideal opportunity to provide lagoons and wetlands suitable for wading birds. The site has been developed over 5 years and further expansion is currently under consideration. In this relatively short space of time many species have been attracted to Wood Lane. Aquatic and waterside plants have been introduced and, as the site is relatively new , there is a unique opportunity to study the invading flora, including varieties of orchids. So far 6 hectares have been restored to provide the wetland habitats and these have become a favorite breeding place Sand Martin – Photograph by John Hawkinsfor lapwings and little ring plovers.
Tudor Griffiths has also made available an area of land which is now being actively managed by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust to further develop a traditional hay meadow.
Two hides were introduced during 1999 with access by permit on application (see contacts page). All ability access from the car park takes you around the reserve and to the first hide.
The Tudor Griffiths Group, working with the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, has funded through landfill tax credit, an environmental package for North Shropshire Schools through landfill tax. An education officer is dedicated to help schools develop and deliver Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Over 1000 children visit the site each year.